Wednesday, October 05, 2011
31 Days of Reading with Your Children // Day 5
Today I thought I would blog one of our absolute favorite read-aloud authors. If this one is not on your shelves, Christmas would be a great time to rectify that! : )
Many are familiar with the writings of H.A. & Margaret Rey because of the mischieveous monkey, Curious George. A favorite in our house, we have worn out our big compilation of all the original stories. (Luckily there are on almost any library shelf). The compilation includes the classic tales of how George meets the man with the yellow hat, when George goes to the hospital, and George learning to ride a bike. There are several other George books that you can find at the library or local bookstore that are the "continued adventures" of Curious George. Those that we have read seem to do a good job at continuing his stories in the same spirit as the originals.
Did you know that there is so much more to the Rey writing team than just George? I had no idea, but once I learned, I have been slowly adding some of their other books to our shelves. For example, the first book that the Rey's wrote wasn't about George, but a giraffe named Cecily. Cecily G and the Nine Monkeys is the story of sweet Cecily, a young giraffe. All her friends have been taken to live at the zoo and she is quite lonely. She is befriend by Mama Pamplemoose and her nine little monkeys (one of whom is named George!) and they have several adventures as they play together and become fast friends.
Pretzel is another Rey favorite in our house and is the story of a daschund. And unusual daschund. A very loooooooooong daschund. Actually, he was the longest daschund in the world! For the most part his great length was an asset to him - when he was one, he won a blue ribbon at a dog show and was admired by all the other dogs.
The little dog across the street, Greta, did not like Pretzel. And Pretzel really liked Greta. Her thoughts on the matter: "I don't care for long dogs." The rest of the story details how Pretzel tries to impress Greta ... and of course, he wins her affections in the end, but I'll leave the "how" to your discovery. :)
As with all the H.A. Rey books, my girls have delighted in Pretzel. I don't think they have ever seen a real daschund, so they enjoy the appearance and antics of this unusual looking dog. The artwork is sweet and very colorful, as with all Rey books and I think it's worth a look if you can find it!
One of our favorite classics is the sweet story of Katy No Pocket, written by Emmy Payne. How is this tied to a post about the Reys? They illustrated this adorable book! Katy is a mama kangaroo with a Very Big Problem. She doesn't have a pocket! How is she going to carry her baby Freddy? Katy and Freddy go on a quest to find out how other mothers carry their babies ... maybe then they can find a solution. Unfortunately, what works for other mothers doesn't work for Katy. She and Freddy head out of the jungle in search of answers and find themselves in the big city. With a little help from a kind man on the street, Katy is back up and running with pockets to spare!
My girls love this book. Some of the attraction, I believe, is because it is about kangaroos. In our house, kangaroos are just cool. :) They are different and not something that you normally see in our neck of the woods! When we first read this story several years ago, I learned a little big about the Reys and their style of illustrating - he originally planned to illustrated the books that he and his wife Margret wrote with watercolors, but because of color separation in printing, they switched to the cartoonish style that has continued on in his books.
The last book by the Reys that I will highlight is Spotty. Spotty is the story of a young rabbit who is a little bit different from the rest of his family. While his mother and eight rabbit siblings are all white rabbits with pink eyes, Spotty is covered in brown spots. His family loves him even though he is different, however, they are concerned about taking him to meet Grandpa Rabbit because it might upset him ... Spotty looking so different and all. This would be a great little story to read with your kids to introduce differences people have such as skin color and how sometimes people that don't look like us can be treated differently (or how it was in the past).
Finally, I want to share a book about they Reys that I found at my library and would highly recommend to an older elementary student, the biography of H.A. & Margret Rey: The Journey that Saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape of Margret & H.A. Rey by Louise Borden. Written on a grade school student's level, this book tells the tale of how the Rey's escaped from a Paris occupied by the Germans on two bicycles, and how they eventually made their way to America. This book would be a great resource if you were wanting to expose your 2nd grader (and up) to World War II without delving into topics that they are not ready for. The book is full of illustrations and photos of Mr. Rey's journals - did you know that Curious George started out being called Fifi? I must say, I prefer George. :)
And with that, I'll conclude my gushing about the works of H.A. and Margaret Rey for one day!
Day: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4
The book links above are Amazon affiliate links ... if you click them and make a purchase, I will earn a few pennies towards books for my munchkins. Just thought I'd mention it. :)